Unifesp’s Department of Ophthalmology participates in the launch of Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare.

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Unifesp e L V Prasad Eye Institute

Applying AI to help millions of visually impaired across the world.

Hyderabad, 19 December 2016: Continuing to enhance real life impact through technology, Microsoft India, in collaboration with L V Prasad Eye Institute, today launched Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE). This is a mission-driven global consortium of like-minded commercial, research and academic institutions who have joined hands to apply artificial intelligence to help in the elimination of avoidable blindness and scale delivery of eyecare services worldwide.

The partner organizations of this consortium include Bascom Palmer – University of Miami, Flaum Eye Institute – University of Rochester (USA), Federal University of Sao Paulo – UNIFESP (Brazil) and Brien Holden Vision Institute (Australia). The partner organizations will collaborate and collectively work on diverse datasets of patients across geographies to come up with machine learning predictive models for vision impairment and eye disease. This will include the rate of change of myopia in children, conditions that impact children’s eyesight, predictive outcomes of refractive surgery, optimal surgery parameters as well as ways to personalize a surgery and maximize its probability of success. By studying this data and applying advanced analytics with Microsoft machine learning technology to derive insights, MINE will aim to drive strategies to prevent avoidable blindness and help increase efficiency in the delivery of eyecare worldwide. Currently 285 million people are visually impaired, of which 55 million reside in India. As the technology driver, Microsoft will deploy its leading cloud platform technology – Cortana Intelligence Suite, for advanced analytics and to build Artificial Intelligence models on eyecare.

Speaking on the occasion, Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt. Ltd., said, “By using our capabilities and pioneering work in the field of machine learning over the years, Microsoft has helped accelerate digital transformation in various key sectors in India, including agriculture and education. Today, I am happy to take forward the work we have done in healthcare with an esteemed set of partners. MINE, a global collaboration, reinforces Microsoft’s belief in the combined power of data, cloud and advanced analytics to drive public good. In our shared vision to eradicate preventive blindness, MINE will help redefine eyecare by bringing together the power of technology and knowledge of global experts.”

“At LVPEI, we have been using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Power BI to drive clinical interventions and improve patient outcomes. Today, we take great pride in taking forward our partnership with Microsoft and joining forces with global institutes to revolutionize the field of ophthalmology in India and across the world. We are confident that this partnership will not only open doors to opportunities in the field of eyecare, but also pave way for others to leverage technology to address several other critical eye diseases,” said Dr. G.N. Rao, Founder-Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute.

“It is an honor and a pleasure for the department of Ophthalmology of the Federal University of Sao Paulo, the institute of vision and the Brazilian Academy of Ophthalmology to participate in such a wonderful initiative as the MINE. Our mission is to improve eye health by teaching and research and we are among the leading university hospitals in Brazil. We host 15 subspecialties – from cornea to neuro-ophthalmology- and enjoy the collaboration of more than 50 top notch eye doctors and technologists. The solely scientific production of the department corresponds to half the total population of the Brazilian Ophthalmology community. Consultations, exams and surgeries surpass 20,000 a month in a total area of more than 2000 square meters. Having such numbers, to make better use of them – an intelligent network based in the cloud and powered by Microsoft is the perfect match. We expect to upload data and download solutions and perspectives to help society.” said Dr. Paulo Schor, Productivity Development Scholar. Tec. And Extension Innovative, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil – UNIFESP.

“This is a novel initiative that has the potential to achieve positive impact by bringing together researchers and health care professionals in the eye care field to harness the power of shared data and thus generate more effective solutions for vision problems.” said Prof Naidoo CEO, Brian Holden Vision Institute, Australia.

“The David and Ilene Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY is honored to be one the founding members of the Microsoft Intelligent Network in Eyecare.  Data science is the center piece of our strategic plan in Rochester. Thus, we are attuned to the value of Microsoft’s powerful new tools to collect, curate, and analyze large and complex datasets. Using these tools locally will enable us to discover and implement new strategies to restore vision and end blindness. As a longtime partner of the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute we share Dr. G. N. Rao’s vision and are enthusiastic to work in this global consortium so that all may see.” said Rajeev Ramchandran, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Population Health & Global Engagement, Flaum Eye Institute, Rochester, USA.

“The MINE project is an important step in fulfilling the promise of electronic health records. During the first stage, our focus was on the capture of critical medical data at the individual patient level. Stage two focused our efforts at looking at the quality of the services we have been providing. The MINE project takes us to stage three- using the electronic health system to drive global outcomes. This is the beginning of a revolution in eyecare that promises significant benefits to patients through better outcomes. And, we cannot understate the promise of higher efficiency in the healthcare economy through the identification of best practices.” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D. Professor and Chairman, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

As next steps, MINE will bring together different partner organizations on Azure and collectively work on ideas of impact.

About LVPEI.

The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1987 at Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution. LVPEI is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. The Institute is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has six active arms to its areas of operations namely Clinical Services, Education, Research, Rehabilitation and Sight Enhancement Services, Eye Bank, and Public Health and Rural Outreach. The LVPEI network comprises a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Hyderabad, 3 tertiary centers in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, 16 secondary and 141 primary care centers that cover the remotest rural areas in the four states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka. For more information, visit www.lvpei.org.

About Microsoft Machine Learning.

Machine Learning is one of Microsoft’s key focus areas and one in which the company is making significant inroads, both by way of research and development breakthroughs as well as translating the outcome into real customer impact. Microsoft has engaged with L V Prasad Eye Institute to build a predictive model that helps predict regression rates for eye operations, enabling doctors to pinpoint the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments. To boost Andhra Pradesh’s education ecosystem, Microsoft has been working with the state government on a machine learning based model to analyze and predict drop outs and take preventive action. To aid digital agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, Microsoft has partnered with ICRISAT to provide powerful cloud-based predictive analytics to empower farmers with crucial information and insights to help reduce crop failures and increase yield, in turn, reducing stress and generating better income.

 See some images photographed at the event.